Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cream Cheese & Raspberry Coffee Cake

1 8 ounce Pkg Cream Cheese, Room Temp
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Butter, Room Temp
2 C Flour
2 Eggs
1/4 C Milk
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 t Vanilla
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 Baking Soda
1/4 t Salt
2 C Raspberry Preserves or your favorite preserve flavor
1/4 C Sliced Almonds

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan with Pam. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, & butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add flour, eggs, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat about 2 minutes or until well mixed. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Place preserves in a bowl and stir with a fork until smooth. Dot batter with preserves. With a knife swirl preserves into batter to marble. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees fro 30 -35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool, can be sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lentil Pumpkin Soup

This is an easy, pretty soup that goes together in a snap!
All these ingredients should be pantry staples so you can throw it together at the spur of the moment. I love curry, so sometimes I like to add a tablespoon of curry for a twist! Sooo yummy! You can serve with Naan bread and an arugula salad.
Also can be garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro.
As always don't forget the love and enjoy! xo

2 T Butter
1 Large Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
1/2 t Dried Thyme, Crushed
1/4 t Dried Marjoram, Crushed
4 C Chicken Broth
1 C Water
1 15 ounce Can Pumpkin
1 C Dry YellowLentils, Rinsed & Drained
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add onion, garlic, thyme & marjoram. Saute until onions are transparent and herbs are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, water, pumpkin and lentils, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 side dish servings. Easily doubled. Can be frozen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tunisian Chicken with Carrots & Olives

4 T Olive Oil, Divided
1 1/2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts
Salt & Pepper
1/2 Lemon, Seeded and Thinly Sliced
3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
3 Large Carrots, Thinly Sliced
1 T Water
1 t Cumin
1 t Sweet Paprika
1/2 t Cinnamon
1 C Chicken Broth
1/2 C Pitted Green Olives
1/2 C Pitted Kalamata Olives
1/4 C Sliced Almonds

In a very large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil. Cut chicken into strips and season with salt & pepper and add to skillet in a single layer over medium-high heat. Brown turning once, but not cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Using tongs transfer chicken to a plate.

Add lemon slices and brown on both sides about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 T olive oil, along with the carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until carrots have softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the water and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika and cinnamon, cook for 1 minute.

Return the chicken and any juices that have collected to the skillet and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and olives, taste for seasonings and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving bowl and sprinkle with almonds. Serve over cous cous.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

1 #10 Can Diced Tomatoes in Juice, Drained, liquid reserved
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 T Kosher Salt
1 1/2 t Pepper
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 C Onion, Chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
2 T Butter
4 C Fresh Basil Leaves, Packed
1 T Fresh Thyme
1 Quart Chicken Stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain diced tomatoes, reserving liquid for later. Toss diced tomatoes together with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8 quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 T olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Add the roasted tomatoes with the liquid from the baking sheet and the reserved liquid, the basil, thyme and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Using an immersion blender, food processor or blender, blend soup until smooth. Taste for additional seasonings. serve hot or cold. Can garnish with fresh basil pesto, a garlic crouton or a basil leaf. Serves 8-10

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shelley's Creamed Spinach

2 lb Fresh Spinach
3 T Butter
2 T Flour
1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
1 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper

Roughly Chop fresh spinach, place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap, poke a hole in the plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. In a heavy saute pan melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, add whipping cream, cheese and salt and pepper. Stir until thickened, once the sauce is thickened add wilted drained spinach. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve. Serves 6-8.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Red Velvet Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

2 1/2 C Flour
1/2 t Salt
3 T Cocoa Powder
1/2 C Butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 C Buttermilk, (If you don't have buttermilk on hand you can use 1 C milk and add 1 T white vinegar)
2 T Liquid Food Coloring
1 t White Vinegar
1 t Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch cake pans with pan and line with parchment.

In a mixing bowl place flour, salt and cocoa powder, whisk until combined.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk and red food coloring together. While the mixer is on low speed alternately add the flour mixture and the butter milk mixture.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Mascarpone Frosting

3 C Heavy Whipping Cream
3 8 ounce tubs of Mascarpone
2 t Vanilla
2 C Powdered Sugar, sifted

Place mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar & vanilla in mixer bowl, whip until fluffy, add whipping cream and whip until fluffy.

To assemble cake, cut both layers in half. Layer cake layers with whipped frosting and then cover outside of cake completely. May be garnished with coconut.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coconut Lime Jasmine Rice

1/2 C Butter
1 Leek, Chopped
Zest of 2 Limes
1 C Jasmine Rice
1 Can Coconut Milk
3/4 C Chicken Broth
2 T Fresh Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute butter & leeks until leeks are soft, add lime zest and rice. Saute until rice is light brown. Add coconut milk, chicken broth and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is soft. Season with salt & pepper. Garnish with lime zest & serve.

Background: When the kids were in elementary school my friends and I donated a Hawaiian Dinner for a school auction and I came up with this yummy rice. Everyone love it and wanted the recipe....xo

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Arugula Pesto, Gorgonzola & Endive Appetizer

1 – 6 ounce Bag Arugula or Rocket
1 T Olive Oil
1 T Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Endive, Seperated
1/2 C Gorgonzola, Crumbled
Spicy Candied Pecans, Chopped (purchased)

In the bowl of a food processor place arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Process until it looks like pesto. Place in a bowl and add Gorgonzola, mix well.
Separate endive leaves, cutting large ones in half. Spread a thin line of arugula, Gorgonzola mixture down the middle, sprinkle with candied spicy pecans, serve.
Makes 30.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Potato Phyllo Bites

1 Pkg Frozen Phyllo Dough, Defrosted
6 C Frozen Hashbrown Bits, Defrosted
6 Scallions, Chopped
3 C Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1/2 C Real Bacon Bits
1/3 C Mayonnaise
1 t Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take phyllo dough out of package and cut into 3 x 3 squares of 3 sheets each. Place in a pam sprayed mini muffin tin. Fill each phyllo cup with 1 T of potato mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the phyllo is browned.

Remove and serve. Makes 48 appetizers.

Great for a brunch!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spicy Sausage & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

2 lbs Spicy Breakfast Sausage, browned and drained
Half loaf Sliced Sourdough Bread Cubed
2 Cartons Egg Substitute or 16 Whole Eggs
2 t Dry Mustard
¼ Cayenne Pepper
2 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 C Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 C Milk, separated

Spray glass 9X12 baking dish with pam. Spread cubed bread evenly in bottom of pan, add cheese and spread evenly on bread, top with cooked sausage. Combine eggs or egg substitute & 1 C milk cayenne, mustard and pour over bread, cheese and sausage. Whisk together Cream of mushroom soup & remaining 1 C milk, drizzle on top of sausage. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let sit for 20 mins before serving.

Background: This is our traditional Christmas morning dish, I like it because it can be made days ahead and bake when you need it.xo

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Italian Herb Bean Salad

1/2 C Olive Oil
3 T Balsamic Vinegar
5 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
2 T Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
3 T Fresh Oregano, Chopped
2 T Fresh Sage, Chopped
3 T Fresh Basil, Chopped
1 t Pepper
1/2 Salt
1/4 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, Drained
1 Can Kidney Beans, Drained
1 Can Black Beans,Drained
1 Can French Cut Green Beans, Drained
1 Can Black Olives, Drained
1 Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Drained
1/2 Red Onion, Sliced Thinly

In the a large bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, oregano,sage, basil, pepper, salt & red pepper flakes. Whisk until well blended, taste for seasoning. Add garbanzo, kidney, black, green beans, olives, artichoke hearts & red onion mix to coat. Taste for seasoning and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 2 days ahead.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nonnie's Crab Cioppino

1/2 C Olive Oil
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 C Garlic, Finely Chopped
5 Bunches Italian Parsley, Chopped
1 #10 Can Tomato Sauce
8-10 Crabs, cracked & cleaned

In a large (10 quart) stock pot over medium heat, place olive oil, red pepper flakes, & garlic, saute for 5 minutes. Add Italian parsley, saute for another 5 minutes, add tomato sauce and stir until well blended. Add crab and simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh Sourdough French bread for sopping up that wonderful Cioppino sauce.

Background: We have been having this Crab Cioppino on Christmas Eve since I was born. And couldn't imagine one without it! My Nonnie, my Dad's Mom, who was an amazing cook, would start our Christmas Eve meal with Italian Cold Cuts, Italian Bean Salad and fresh sourdough French bread. Then we would have the long awaited Crab Cioppino. This is a family favorite and definitely leaves you wanting more. xo

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dried Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

2 1/2 C Flour 
1 t Baking Powder 
1/2 t Salt 
1 1/2 C Sugar 
1/2 C Butter (1 Stick), room temperature 
3 Eggs
2 t Almond Extract 
2 C Dried Cranberries 
2 C Pecans, Pistacios or any nut you like
Melted White Chocolate For Drizzling 

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda, & salt in a medium bowl, whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, eggs and almond extract in a large bowl until blended well. Mix in flour mixture, then cranberries and nuts. Using floured hands divide dough into two logs. Place logs on prepared baking sheet. Whisk an egg white until foamy and brush on top of each log. Bake logs until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature. Transfer logs to cutting board and cut on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Arrange slice, standing, on same baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Melt white chocolate and drizzle cooled biscotti if desired.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crab Deviled Eggs

6 Large Eggs
2 Cups Packed Arugula
4 Ounces Lump Crab Meat
1/4 C Best Foods/Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 T White Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and peel eggs, let cool.

Place arugula in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until wilted. Place on a paper towel and get rid of excess water. Chop the arugula finely. Cut cooled eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites in tact. Mash the yolks in a bowl with a fork or pastry cutter. Add all remaining ingredients mixing well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place egg yolk mixture in a gallon zip lock bag, zip and move all mixture to a corner, you will be using the zip lock bag like a pastry bag. Cut the corner where all the egg mixture is about a half inch up, pipe into each egg half, refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with paprika, line serving plate with arugula and place eggs on top.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chocolate Biscotti

2 1/2 C Flour
1 C Cocoa Powder
1 t instant coffee granules
Pinch of salt
1/2 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Baking Powder
4 Eggs, plus one beaten for brushing on biscotti logs
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 C Toasted Pecans, roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, place flour, cocoa powder, coffee granules, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk together so well blended, set aside.

Beat eggs lightly in with a mixer, add sugar, beat until blended. Beat in flour mixture until mixed well. Divide dough in half and make a log out of each approximately 12 inches long, (but you can make the log as large or as small as you want this will determine how big your biscotti are, a thinner log will yield smaller biscotti and so on), place logs on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread out log til its about 1/2 to 3/4 inch high. brush tops with egg.

Bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Let cool and cut on an angle into slices. Return cut slices, standing, to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 more minutes. A longer cooking time will make a crisper biscotti. Cool and serve!

You can also drizzle with white chocolate if desired. To melt white chocolate place 1 C white chocolate chips in a pyrex measuring cup, microwave for one minute, stir, continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. d

Background: These biscotti are not the ones my Nonnie used to make but are delicious just the same. They are a rich dark chocolate that is not too sweet. They are great with red wine. xo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

1 T Butter
4 Boneless Pork Chops, 3/4 inch thick
1/4 C Orange Marmalade
2 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 C Dry White Wine
1/2 t Fresh Thyme, can used dried
1/2 t Grated Orange Peel

Melt butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add pork chops, cook 7-9 minutes on each side or until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

In same pan add marmalade, dijon, wine, thyme, and orange peel. Cook over medium heat untl sauce has reduced to a glaze, stirring occasionally. Add pork chops, turning to heat and coat.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mushroom Manchego Chicken

3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into bite size pieces
2 C Flour, Seasoned with Salt & Pepper
3 T Olive Oil
2 T Butter
½ t Red Pepper Flakes
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 lb Crimini Mushrooms, Quartered
2 C Milk
2 C Dry White Wine
1 C Greek Yogurt, Non Fat is fine
2 C Manchego Cheese, Shredded
Salt & Pepper to Taste.

Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour. Melt butter & olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook chicken until browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Add onions, red pepper flakes, garlic, cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, milk, & wine, cook until sauce thickens. Add yogurt and manchego cheese stir until blended and return chicken to pan, simmer until chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.

Serve over rice and steamed broccoli.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dried Cherry Brie In Puff Pastry

1/2 C Dried Cherries
1/2 c Pistachios
3 T Brandy
1 Medium Size Round of Brie
1 Sheet Puff Pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place all dried cherries and pistachios in food processor and pulse until combined and roughly chopped. Place brie in the middle of the sheet of puff pastry and put on a parchment lined baking sheet. Poke the top of the brie with a fork several times, spread pistachio cherry mixture on top of brie, drizzle with brandy. Bring all sides of puff pastry to the middle pinching to close. Brush with milk and bake for 10-15 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Herb Grilled Shrimp

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
1/4 C Italian Parsley, Minced
1/4 C Fresh Basil, Minced
1 t Dry Mustard
2 t Salt
2 t Dijon Mustard
1/4 t Black Pepper
1/4 C Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 lb Jumbo Shrimp (16-20 per pound), Peeled and Deveined

Combine garlic, onion, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and marinate (this can be done in a zip lock bag) for at least one hour at room temprature or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Grill shrimp for one and one half minutes on each side. Serve on a platter as an appetizer or over pasta or rice as a main course. You can make another batch of the marinade and heat to a simmer and use as a dipping sauce or sauce for your pasta with the shrimp!

Background: I had these shrimp at a party at my friend Nancy's house. I thought they were so good I asked Nancy who made them, she told me it was another friend of I asked Pam for the recipe! Thanks for sharing, Pam this is a great one! I know you'll think so, too! xo

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tortilla Soup a la Luba

Saute until softened, not brown:
4 Scallions
2-3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 T Oil, I always use Olive Oil :)

Add the following ingredients, cook until the chicken is cooked:
4 Small Cans Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Chicken Breasts on bone but skin removed, can use boneless, skinless
4-5 Dashes Tobasco
1 1/2 t Oregano
1 1/2 t Marjorum
1/2 t Black Pepper
Salt to taste
1 28 ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 t Cumin
1 t Chili Powder

Add towards the end:
1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped

Remove chicken, de-bone if necessary, shred and add back to soup.

Garnish with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or jack, lime and avocado.

Background: I love this easy soup, and I love Luba! She is so fun and sweet! I had this soup at her daughter Barbara's in New Jersey. I was happy to find out how easy it is to make! So thanks Luba and Barbara for sharing this great recipe with me! To me this is true comfort food, so don't hesitate to add your favorite beans or corn to it! xo

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ang's Almond Cake

2 Sticks Butter (1 Cup)
2 C Sugar
1 t Almond Extract
4 Eggs
2 C Flour
1 t Baking Powder
8 oz Almond Paste

Spray a round spring form or removable bottom pan with Pam and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Add eggs and extract. Add flour and baking powder mixture in 3 parts, beating until incorporated after each. Pour half the batter in the pan, roll almond paste between 2 pieces of saran wrap and use the bottom of your pan as a guide for size. Ang cuts the paste into 3 strips lengthwise to make rolling easier. Place on batter in pan but don't let it touch the sides. Pour remaining batter on top. I like to top with sliced almonds. Bake for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with fresh raspberries.

Background: I love almond anything and had been looking for an amazing cake recipe. Ang brought this to Jacque's for dessert one day and I knew I had found the best almond cake ever! I have even adapted the recipe to make mini cakes by using a mini muffin tin and making balls of the almond paste and inserting them in the batter, still topping with the sliced almonds! Sooo good! xo

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marinated Burgundy Ham

1 8 lb Smoked Fully Cooked Ham
6 C Water
2 C Cranberry Apple Juice Drink, Divided
2 C Burgundy Wine or other Dry Red Wine
3 C Brown Sugar, Packed
2 3" Cinnamon Sticks
1 T Whole cloves
Fresh Whole Cranberries for garnish.

Place ham in a Dutch Oven. Add water, 1 C Cranberry-Apple juice, 1 C Wine, 1 C Brown Sugar, Cinnamon Sticks & cloves. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool. Place ham and marinade in a large non-metallic bowl, cover and chill for 8 hours, turning once after 4 hours.

Remove ham from marinade, reserve 2 cups marinade and add 1 C brown sugar. Place ham in a roasting pan sprayed with Pam.

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with marinade. Bake 20 minutes more or until meat thermometer reaches 140 degrees basting ham occasionally with pan juices. Remove ham from a carving board, reserving pan juices.

Combine pan juices, remaining 1 C cranberry-apple juice, 1 C wine, and 1 C brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 40 minutes. Serve sauce with ham. Garnish with fresh cranberries.
This is great on a Christmas table or party buffet. xo

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

French Green Beans with Dijon Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola & Candied Pecans

1 24 oz Bag Frozen French Green Beans (thawed)
3 T Shallot, Minced, If you don't have shallots, mince one garlic clove and 1/4 of a red onion!
3 T Cider Vinegar
3 T C Seasoned Rice wine Vinegar
2 T Dijon Mustard
3 T Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 C Crumbled Gorgonzola, plus some for garnish
3/4 C Candied Pecans, Chopped

Thaw French Green Beans and discard excess water. Place beans in a large zip lock bag. Mix shallot, vinegars, Dijon, olive oil, salt & pepper, whisk until well blended. Add Gorgonzola and vinaigrette to beans in zip lock bag, close bag and manipulate until Gorgonzola and vinaigrette are evenly distributed. Let sit for at least 2 hours. Place in serving dish and garnish with additional Gorgonzola and pecans. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Shortbread Squares

1 C Butter
1 C Packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 t Vanilla Extract
2 C All Purpose Flour
1/4 t Salt
4 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars, 1.55 ounces each, Broken into rectantles
1/2 C Walnuts, Chopped

In a mixing bowl, cream butter & brown sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Press into a 15" x 10" baking pan sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Upon taking out of the oven, immediately place candy bar pieces over crust. Let stand for 1 minute or until candy is softened, spread chocolate evenly. Sprinkle with walnuts. Cool and cut into squares.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

3 Hot Italian Sausages, Casing Removed
1 1/2 T Dried Oregano
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, Shredded, plus some for sprinkling
1/2 C Romano Cheese, Shredded
1/2 t Worcestershire Sauce
2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
1-8 ounce Package of Cream Cheese
1 Egg
24 Mushrooms, Stemmed
1/3 C Dry White Wine

Saute sausage, garlic and oregano in a skillet over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and brown, breaking into small pieces, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer sausage to a large bowl and cool. Mix in Parmesan, Romano, and cream cheese. Season filling with salt and pepper, mix in egg.

Place mushrooms on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush each mushroom cap with wine. Add about 1 T of filling to each mushroom. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Can be made one day ahead, covered and chilled until use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered until tops are browned, about 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tomato Garbanzo Bean Curry

1 T Olive Oil
1 C Chopped Onion
1 T Minced Ginger (available in a tube in the herb section of the grocery store)
2 T Garam Masala
2 t Brown Mustard Seeds
1/4 t Cayenne 0r more if desired
1 Can Coconut Milk
1 T Chopped Fresh Jalapeno
1 t Sugar
1/2 t Ground Turmeric
3 15 ounce Cans Garbanzo Beans
1 28 ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 8 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
4 T Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic, cook 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala, mustard and cayenne, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk and remaining ingredients except cilantro, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro. Garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cilantro. Great over rice!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

1 pkg Active Dry Yeast (3 teaspoons)
3/4 C Warm Water from tap
3/4 C Warm Milk
1/2 C Sugar
3 T Vegetable Oil
2 t Salt
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 C Flour

1 1/2 C Butter, Softened
1 C Sugar
6 T Cinnamon
3/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
2 C Heavy Cream
2 C Coarsely Chopped (optional)

Spray a 13 X 9 inch baking pan with Pam. Combine brown sugar and heavy cream, pour in greased baking pan and sprinkle with pecans.

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, oil, salt & 1-1/4 C flour. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl sprayed with Pam turning once to get the Pam on the top of the dough. Cover and let rise for one hour or until doubled in size. Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18 inch by 12 inch rectangle. Spread butter on entire surface, sprinkle with sugar, then cinnamon. Roll up, jelly roll style, starting with the long side. Cut into slices and place in prepared baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until well browned. Cool 1 minute before inverting onto serving platter. Makes one dozen.

Background: For as long as I can remember I have been making these yummy sticky buns with my Mom and kids every 4th of July and taking them to our downtown parade. We all look forward to the holiday for this reason. We have become quite popular on the 4th with friends and strangers stopping by to say hi and to have a sticky bun! xo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

4 lb Boneless Pork Shoulder, Trimmed of Fat and Cut into 8 pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 T Olive Oil
1 C Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)
4 oz Bacon, Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 lb Bulk Chorizo Sausage
3 Medium Onions, Chopped
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 35 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
2 C Chicken Broth
3 Cans Great White North Beans, drained or 6 Cups Raw cooked Al Dente
6 Cloves Garlic, halved
1/4 C Italian Parsley, Chopped

Salt and pepper pork, set aside.

In a stove-top safe insert of a slow cooker or Dutch oven, cook oil and panko over medium-high heat. Cook stirring constantly, until panko is toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Mix with Italian parsley and set aside.

Add bacon and cook until crisp, add Chorizo and saute until just cooked. Remove bacon and Chorizo. Add half of the pork and cook until brown on both sides. About 5 minutes. Transfer to platter and cook remaining pork.

Add onions and wine and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth. Remove from heat and add beans, pork, Chorizo, bacon, and garlic.

Place in slow cooker, cover and set to low for 8-9 hours. For Dutch Oven cover and place in a 250 degree oven for 3-4 hours or until pork pulls apart easily with a fork. Before serving skim off fat and fold in panko and parsley. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve with Crostini.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chicken & Cashew Stir Fry

1 Bunch Scallions
1 Lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts
Salt & Pepper for seasoning Chicken
3 T Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
1 Can Bamboo Shoots, Drained
1 4 oz Pkg Snow Peas, Roughly Chopped
2 Celery Ribs, Sliced
4 Garlic Clove, Crushed
1 1/2 T Ginger, Chopped (found in a tube in the fresh herb section of the market)
1/4 t Red Pepper Flakes
3/4 C Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 T Soy Sauce
1 1/2 t Corn Starch
1 t Sugar
3/4 C Roasted Whole Cashews

Chop Scallions, separating white and green parts. Pat chicken dry and then cut into 3/4 inch pieces, season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat wok or large skillet (preferably non stick) over medium high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat, then stir fry chicken until golden in places and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with a slotted spoon. Add bell pepper, bamboo shoots, snow peas, celery, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and scallion whites to wok and stir fry until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar, then stir into vegetables in wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in cashews, scallion greens and chicken along with any juices accumulated on plate.

Serve over rice or Asian noodles.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Easy Jambalaya

1/2 lb Smoked Sausage, Quartered and Sliced
2 C Cubed Cooked Ham
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Celery, Chopped
1 Medium Green Pepper, Chopped
5 Green Onions, Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Can (14.5 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
1 t Dried Thyme
1 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
1/4 t Cayenne
2 Cans (14.5 Ounce) Chicken Broth
1 C uncooked Long Grain Rice
1/3 C Water
4 1/2 t Worcestershire Sauce
2 Lb Cooked Shrimp, with out tails

In a Dutch oven or large saute pan, saute sausage and ham in oil until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. In the drippings, saute celery, onion, green pepper, green onions and garlic until tender. Add tomatoes, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne, cook 5 minutes.
Stir in broth, rice, water & Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in sausage, ham and shrimp, heat through. Serve! Serves 10-12.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Coconut Cloud Cake

1 Box White Cake Mix
1/3 C Oil
1 C Coconut Milk- Unsweetened
3 Eggs
2 t Coconut Extract

1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 C Powdered Sugar
2 t Coconut Extract

1 Bag Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl place cake mix, oil, coconut milk, eggs and coconut extract. Mix until well blended. Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with Pam (this insures your cakes will come out of the pan perfectly). Divide cake mix between them and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, approximately 2 hours.

Meanwhile beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and coconut extract until the whipping cream stands up in stiff peaks. Refrigerate until use.

Place one 8 inch round on your serving plate, top with whipped cream, place second 8 inch round on top. Frost whole cake with remaining whipped cream, sprinkle with coconut. If you like toasted coconut you can toast it and then put it on top of the whipped cream.

To toast coconut place on a baking sheet in a thin layer, bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes, watching carefully until golden brown.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prawns & Papperdalle

2 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
1 Onion, Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Crushed
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 C Dry White Wine
3 Large Tomatoes Diced or 2 15 oz Cans Diced Tomatoes
1- 8 Ounce Tub Basil Pesto
1 Lb Raw Shrimp or Prawns
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 16 oz pkg Papperdalle Noodles

Take tail off of prawns, butterfly and remove the black vein.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes, saute until onions are translucent. Add wine and saute on high for 10-15 minutes. Add tomatoes and Pesto stir until blended. Cook pasta as directed on pasta package. Add prawns 5 minutes before pasta is done. When pasta is done add to shrimp mixture in saute pan, toss to coat and serve.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Roasted Turkey Salad

3 C Cooked Turkey, Cubed
1 C Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 C Mayonnaise, Best Foods
3/4 C Greek Yogurt, Nonfat is ok
2 C Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
1/2 C Walnuts, Chopped
1 C Celery, Chopped
1/4 C Italian Parsley, Chopped, plus some for garnish
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Lb Spring Mix or Favorite Greens

Mix together red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. Toss turkey in red wine mixture. Drain off excess vinegar. Mix mayonnaise and yogurt in a large bowl. Add turkey, grapes, walnuts & celery, mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve place desired amount of greens on plate top in the middle with turkey salad. Garnish with Italian parsley. Serve.

Background: I always love left over turkey, but by the third of forth day I want to use the turkey in a completely different way. I came up with this refreshing salad. This would be great in a sandwich or with a bowl of French Onion Soup! xo

Friday, November 27, 2009

Savory Cheesecake Bites with Red Grape Relish

1 C Panko Bread Crumbs, Japanese Bread Crumbs
1/2 Stick Butter, Melted
6 T Parmesan, Shredded, Divided
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 C Dry White Wine
1/2 C Shallots, Minced
6 oz Marscarpone Cheese
1 C Boursin Cheese, Crumbled
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat two mini muffin pans with nonstick spray. Combine Panko, butter, 2 T Parmesan and pepper in a bowl. Spoon 2 t panko mixture into each muffin cup and press down with the back of a tablespoon measuring spoon. Boil wine and shallots in a small sauce pan over high heat until liquid is nearly evaporated. Reduce heat to low, then whisk in marscarpone until combined, stir in Boursin and remaining Parmesan until smooth, then whisk in the egg. Spoon 1 T cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Bake for 15 minutes or until just set in the center. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin.

Red Grape Relish

1/2 C Red Grapes, chopped & drained
1 t Fresh lime juice
1 T Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped

Toss grapes, lime juice and parsley together in a small bowl. Top cheesecakes with relish just before serving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

French Onion Soup

10 C Water
1 C Beef Base Paste
5 Large Onions, Sliced Thin
2 C Dry Red Wine
1 T Thyme
Fresh Ground Pepper & Salt to taste.
1 lb Gruyere Cheese

Mix all ingredients and simmer until onions are very tender about an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 Loaf Rosemary Focaccia or Ciabiatta Bread

Cut bread into medium size cubes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until hard.

Ladle hot soup into ovenproof bowls. Top with croutons and a slice of Gruyere cheese. Broil until hot, bubbly and browned. Serve!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dijon Chicken or Turkey Salad

3 C Roasted Chicken or Turkey, Chopped roughly
1/2 C Non Fat Greek Yogurt, Fage brand is preferable
1/2 C Best Foods Mayo
3 T Dijon Mustard
2 T Capers, drained
1/2 C Celery Chopped
3 Scallions, Sliced thinly
1/2 t Black Pepper

Place all ingredients in bowl and toss to mix thoroughly. Serve on toasted bread as a sandwich or on a bed of spring mix.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Asparagus & Red Swiss Chard Saute

1 lb Asparagus, washed & trimmed
1 Bunch Red Swiss chard, including stems, Chopped
1 Red Onion, chopped
3 T Olive Oil
3 T Butter
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, onion and red pepper flakes, saute for 3-5 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add asparagus pieces and saute for 5 minutes, add chopped swiss chard, saute 10 minutes or until chard is wilted and asparagus is soft but still crunchy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Background: This is a great side dish and is so pretty with the red from the chard and onions. So tasty and fresh! xo

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deb's Gorgonzola Salad Dressing & Chop Salad

2 Cloves Garlic, Finely chopped
1 C Fage Greek Yogurt, nonfat
1 1/2 C Best Foods Mayonaise
1 t Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 C Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
8 oz Crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese
1/2 C Half & Half
1 1/2 t Ground Pepper
1 t Salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor, using an immersion blender or whisk. If you desire a chunkier dressing process half cheese and add the other half at the end. Refrigerate. Keeps for 1 week.

Chop Salad

2 Heads Romaine, roughly chopped
2 Large Tomatoes, cut in small cubes
2 T Chopped Red Onions
1/4 C Bacon Bits, homemade or purchased
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, Drained

Toss with 1/4 C dressing and serve.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pistachio Prosciutto Crusted Turkey & Amazing Gravy

Prosciutto Pistachio Butter

1 1/2 C(3 sticks) Butter, room temperature
6 T Chopped Pistachios
1 1/2 T Sherry Wine Vinegar
1 T Chopped Fresh Thyme
2 T Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3/4 t Salt
9 Ounces Cubed Prosciutto, available cubed in the deli meat section of the grocery store
3 Green Onions, chopped

Place butter in large bowl. Mix in pistachios, vinegar, thyme, pepper, garlic, and salt. Mix in prosciutto and green onions.

Gravy base

Neck, heart, and gizzard reserved from one 16- to 18-pound turkey
3 Large shallots, finely chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 C Dry White Wine
1 Large Fresh Thyme Sprig
1/2 t Chopped Fresh Rosemary
4 C Low-Salt Chicken Broth

Melt 2 T prosciutto butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add neck, heart, gizzard, shallots, and bay leaf; sauté until brown, about 20 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and rosemary; boil until liquid is reduced almost to glaze, about 3 minutes. Add 4 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until giblets are tender, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf, neck and thyme sprig. Remove giblets and chop or process in a food processor until giblets are finely chopped. Place chopped giblets in gravy base and refrigerate until use. (Prosciutto butter and gravy base can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill butter; bring to room temperature before using. Chill gravy base until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)

1 16- to 18-pound turkey
If not stuffing turkey with your favorite stuffing,stuff with the following:
1 Large Onion, quartered
3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled, Halved
5 Large Fresh Thyme Sprigs
2 Large Fresh Summer Savory Sprigs
1 T Black Pepper, Freshly Milled
2 C Low Salt Chicken Broth

Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast, thigh, and leg meat to loosen skin. Set aside 1/4 cup prosciutto butter for gravy. Spread 1 cup prosciutto butter over turkey meat under skin. Spread 1 cup prosciutto butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper; place on rack set in large roasting pan. Place onion and next 4 ingredients in main turkey cavity if not stuffing. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely.

Roast turkey uncovered 1 1/2 hours. Tent turkey with foil; add 2 cups broth to pan. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160°F, occasionally basting with pan drippings and adding more broth to pan, about 2 hours longer. Transfer to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees).

Amazing Gravy:

2 C Flour
5 C Low Salt Chicken Broth, approximately
1/4 C Whiskey

Heat pan juices in roasting pan on stove top over medium heat. Add reserved 1/4 cup prosciutto butter and melt. Add 2 cups flour, cook 5-10 minutes scraping bottom of pan and stirring constantly. Add reserved gravy base and enough chicken broth to mixture to measure 8 cups total. Boil, whisking frequently, until gravy has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. I gravy is too thick add more chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with gravy.

Background: This is by far the best turkey and gravy recipe I have ever tasted. I first had it at my sister Lisa's when she took over the Thanksgiving tradition. We still stuff the turkey with my Mom's Italian Sausage & Wild Rice stuffing. I have modified the recipe a bit, as I always do to make it my own and hopefully a little easier. This is definitely worth the time! xo

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mandarin Orange Cranberry Sauce

1 Can Whole Cranberry Sauce
1 Can Mandarin Oranges, drained
1 C Pecans, Roughly Chopped
2 t Fresh Rosemary, Finely Chopped
1-2 T Grand Mariner or Orange Juice

Mix together and refrigerate until ready to use!

Background: I am not a huge fan of the jelly Cranberry Sauce my Granny used to put out at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But a Holiday is hardly a holiday without some sort of Cranberry Sauce....sooo I mixed it up a bit with this version! So yummy and earthy. It is also great on Brie for those after holiday parties! xo

Friday, November 20, 2009

Garlic Herb Olives

1 Can Black Olives, Drained, can also use Kalamata if desired
2 C Green Olives, Drained
1/4 C Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped or Crushed
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes

With Dried Herbs:
1 T Italian Seasoning
2 t Dried Basil
1 T Dried Parsley

With Fresh Herbs:
1 T Fresh Basil, Chopped Finely
1 T Fresh Rosemary, Chopped Finely
1 T Fresh Oregano, Chopped Finely
1 T Fresh Sage, Chopped Finely

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat, refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve.

Background: My friend Shelley made these olives at a party I attended at her house! I asked for the recipe and she said her Mom, Dian had been making them since she was a kid and everyone loved them. Well I loved them and haven't stopped making them. They are great on a cheese platter as an appetizer or as a side dish at dinner. Enjoy these easy, tasty olives. xo

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Butternut Squash & Apple Bake

1 butternut squash – cut in ½, cleaned, peeled and sliced
3 fuji apples – peeled, cored and sliced
¼ C apple juice or water
½ C maple syrup
1/2 C Butter

Arrange squash and apples alternately in single layer in 9x13 baking dish. Pour water/juice over all, sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with butter. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.

Background: My friend Kristi shared this amazing recipe with me. It is simply delicious and sure to be a family favorite for Thanksgiving or anytime. This dish is also great with pork roast or chops. xo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto & Parmesan

1 lb Brussels Sprouts, Stemmed and Quartered
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Prosciutto, Cubed or Real Bacon Bits, Prosciutto available cubed in the deli meat section of the grocery store
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 t Montreal Steak Seasoning

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place quartered Brussels sprouts and leaves in a bowl, add olive oil, bacon bits, Parmesan & seasoning toss to coat Brussels sprouts thoroughly. Place on a parchment paper lined large cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goat Cheese Pesto Garlic Bread

1 Stick Butter
1/2 C Olive Oil
8 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
3 T Dried Parsley
Pinch of Salt
Melt together and simmer for 5 minutes.

1 Large Loaf of Ciabatta Bread or your favorite French Bread
Cut loaf lengthwise and spoon on above mixture. Make Goat Cheese Pesto.

Goat Cheese Pesto
8 oz Goat Cheese
4 oz Prepared Pesto
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 C Shredded Parmesan or Romano Cheese
Mix together in food processor to make a paste.
Spread on bread over Garlic Butter. Top with grated parmesan. Broil on a low rack until light brown. Serve!

Background: I first made the Goat Cheese Pesto years ago when developing products for Trader Joe's, it ended up on their shelf as Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms. I loved it so much that I have used it on appetizers (recipes to come) and now this amazing garlic bread. This bread always gets rave reviews, just as it did at Suzi's party this weekend. So Suz this one's for you! Enjoy! xo

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tuscan White Bean Salad

2 Cans White Beans, Drained & rinsed
1 Bunch Fresh Basil, Chopped
4 Roma Tomatoes, Cut into small cubes
3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped or crushed
2 t Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 C Olive Oil
2 t Balsamic Vinegar

In the bottom of your serving bowl add the garlic, seasoning, red pepper flakes, olive oil & balsamic. Add beans, basil and tomatoes, toss gently but thoroughly. Garnish with a sprig of basil.

This would also work well warm as a saute over pasta or spinach.

For a warm dish heat olive oil, red pepper flakes & garlic in a saute pan over medium heat. Stir for 5 minutes, add beans, balsamic, seasoning, tomatoes and basil. Toss gently until heated through. Serve!

Background: I made this bean salad for my friend Tori's 50th Birthday party. My friend Tammy loved it and wanted the recipe... so Tammy baby here it is! xo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cinnamon Apple Bundt Cake

5 Apples, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
1/4 C Sugar
2 T Cinnamon
1 C Olive Oil, not extra virgin
2 t Vanilla
4 Eggs
6 T Orange Juice
2 C Sugar
3 C Flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
3 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

Mix together apples, 1/4 C sugar and cinnamon, set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine oil, vanilla, & eggs, beat well. Add orange juice. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Mix wet and dry thoroughly. Spray a Bundt pan with Pam. Layer batter and apples in pan, starting and ending with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done through. Invert on serving plate.

Background: I love this moist simple cake. I find my self making it when I have an excess of apples or apples that are less than perfect for eating as is. Garnish each serving with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, or you can even used canned whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon on top. xo

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mom's Italian Sausage & Wild Rice Stuffing

1 C Wild Rice
1 C Long Grain White Rice
4 C Chicken Broth
In a medium sauce pan over high heat place wild rice and white rice with 4 C chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes.

1 lb Spicy or Mild Italian Sausage, cooked & drained of excess oil
2 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
2 C Diced Onions
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped or Crushed
1 C Chopped Celery
1/4 C Chopped Italian Parsley
2 C Stuffing Bread Cubes
1 t Sage
1/2 t Thyme
1/2 t Oregano
1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan over medium heat place olive oil, butter, onions, garlic, celery,Italian parsley, sage, thyme & oregano. Saute until onions are transparent. Add sausage, wild rice mixture, stuffing cubes and chicken broth. Mix well. Salt & pepper to taste. Stuff turkey or bake in a covered baking dish for 45 minutes or until heated through.

Background: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! My Mom has been making this stuffing since I was a kid and Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same with out it! I hope you try it!xo

Friday, November 13, 2009

Amazing Honey Pecan Cheese Topper

½ Cup Mango, Fig or Apricot Jam
½ Cup Honey
½ Cup Chopped Pecans, Can be toasted
2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes

Mix together and pour over any soft cheese such as Brie, Delice de Bourgnone or goat cheese and serve. This is even good over a wedge of Gorgonzola.

If you don't have the jam on hand, you can double the honey.

Background: My sister, Lisa gave me the original recipe for this which only asked for the honey. Needless to say I loved it and felt I could play with it by adding the jam. Whenever I serve this, it gets rave reviews! It is a staple on my cheese platter for catering gigs. I hope you try it next time you're serving cheese.xo

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

1 T Olive Oil
1 Lb Carrots, Cut diagonally in 1/4 inch pieces
1 C Pomegranate Juice
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
1/2 t Cumin
1 C Pomegranate Seeds

Heat oil in a large saute pan, add carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add pomegranate juice, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper and cumin and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, 20-25 minutes. Add pomegranate seeds. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, can be served hot or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Pea & Ham Appetizers

1 16 oz Bag Frozen Baby Peas, thawed & drained
1 T Greek Yogurt
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Black Pepper, freshly ground
2 T Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Baguette
1/4 lb Thinly Sliced Ham

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut baguette into thin slices, then halve the slices. Toast slices in oven until edges are golden, 7-9 minutes. Cool toasts.

Place peas, yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper, parmigiano in processor and process until smooth. Chill until ready to assemble.

Baguette slice or Water Cracker
Small Square of Ham
Dollop of Pea mixture, so ham is still visible

Makes 48.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Pie/Pudding

1 29 oz can Pumpkin
1 5 oz can Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs, Slightly Beaten
1 C Sugar
1/2 t Salt
2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1 Yellow Cake Mix with Pudding
1/2 lb Butter, melted
1 1/2 C Chopped  Roasted Salted Pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cake pans with parchment paper and spray with Pam. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Pour into cake pans. Combine cake mix & chopped pistachios, divide in half and sprinkle over each pan. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 1 hour. Chill and when ready to serve turn onto serving plate and garnish with whipping cream and caramel sauce, if desired.

This recipe is great on purchased pumpkin pies, too. Just sprinkle cake mix & pistachios mixture on 2 prepared pumpkin pies, drizzle with butter and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool & serve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

4 Large Tomatoes, Cut in half
4 C Cooked Rice- Can be leftover
1 C Shredded Romano Cheese
1 C Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 T Fresh Oregano, Chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in half horizontally and clean out center, save the inside minus the liquid, chop and add set aside. In a bowl combine tomato insides, rice, cheese, oregano, salt & pepper. Place tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Stuff with rice & cheese mixture and lay a sprig of oregano on top of each. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

French Green Bean Saute

1 24 oz Bag Frozen French Green Beans or Fresh
8 oz or more Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3 T Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
2 t Montreal Steak Seasoning

In a large saucepan over medium heat, place olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and seasoning. Add mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green beans, saute until hot but still crunchy, about 15 minutes.

Background: My Mom (love her!) always made amazing vegetable side dishes growing up. This is a variation of her recipe. These beans are an all time favorite in my catering business and at home. They make an easy vegetable addition to dinner. xo

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Simple Salad Dressing &Things I Can't Live Without In The Kitchen

Everyday Simple Salad Dressing
1 C Olive Oil
1/4 Vinegar, Balsamic, White Balsamic, Red Wine or your favorite
1 T Montreal Steak Seasoning

Combine all in a jar with a lid. Shake until mixed. Taste. Add more seasoning if desired. Use on your favorite salad.

Things I Can't Live Without In The Kitchen
Montreal Steak Seasoning: I use it on Tritip, chicken, steak and in dressings and dips. This great blend of spices adds zip & zing!
Parchment Paper: Line your baking pans with it and nothing will stick, like french fries & cookies. It makes clean-up a breeze. Yay!
An Immersion Blender: I call it a wand. I use it to make dressings, dips, hummus. It really makes making dips so much easier, you can do it right in the bowl. You can smooth out a sauce or soup right in the pan! Most also come with a mini chopping bowl accessory, I like this to chop garlic, herbs & vegetables. xo

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grilled Tri tip, Arugula & Wild Rice

1 3 lb Tritip
Rub tritip generously with Montreal Steak Seasoning and grill 12 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, cover with aluminium foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

2 8 oz Bags of Arugula
Lemon Dressing:
1 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Fresh Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Combine in a glass jar with lid and shake.

Wild Rice:
1 C Long Grain Brown Rice
1 C Wild Rice
4 C Chicken Broth
1 T Olive Oil

Place chicken broth in a medium size saucepan. Add the rice, wild rice & olive oil heat to low & cover. Let cook for 40 minutes. Remove from heat.


Place Rice on plate (can be warm or cold), toss arugula with lemon dressing and place on top of rice, slice tritip thinly and place on top of arugula. Serve.

Background: This recipe is great for entertaining because the components can come together at the last minute and it is great served at room temperature. I served this at a birthday luncheon for a friend and everyone raved. Recently I learned that two of the party guests had run into each other at the store gathering ingredients to make this that very night for their famlies! I hope you try it and love it as much as I do!xo

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Best Beef Chili

3 T olive oil
3 lb Ground Chuck
3 Large Yellow Onions, Finely Chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Jalapeno, Finely Chopped
½ C Chili Powder
2 T Cumin
1 T Oregano
2 t Ground Corriander
1 ½ c Beer
2 ½ Cups Beef Stock
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 15 oz Can Kidney Beans, Drained
1 15 oz Can Pinto Beans, Drained
1 15 oz Can Black Beans, Drained
3 T Masa Harina
Salt & Pepper to taste.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add 3 T Olive Oil, Onions, Garlic, Jalapeno and Spices. Saute until onions are soft. Add beef and brown. Add beer, beef stock, tomatoes, & tomato paste and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.
Add Beans and Masa. Simmer until the chili is slightly thickened, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 8-10, can be frozen.

Background: I love chili and this recipe has great flavor and punch! Whenever I make it I get lots of compliments! Garnish with grated cheddar, fresh cilantro and chopped onions. xo

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Southwest Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Avocado Lime Dressing
In the bowl of a food processor add:
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Bunch Cilantro
1 Avocado
1/4 Medium Onion
3 T Lime Juice
2 T Cider Vinegar
Zest of one Lime
1 t Cumin
1/2 C Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Process until smooth.


1 8 oz Bag Spring Mix
1 Head Romaine, Cut into bite size pieces.
1 Can Black Beans, Drained
1 Can White Corn, Drained, Can use fresh corn if in season!
2-3 Scallions, chopped
1 C Jicama, Chopped
Grilled Chicken, Roasted Chicken or Shrimp also great in this salad! Toss and serve!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ragu Bolognese (Spaghetti Gravy)

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
4 T Butter
2 Large Onions, Chopped
2 Carrots, Finely Chopped
5 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
1 Lb Ground Turkey
1 Lb Ground Pork
1 Lb Ground Beef
1/2 Lb Pancetta, Finely Chopped
1 C Half & Half
1 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 28 oz Can Tomato Sauce
3 cans Tomato Paste
3 Cubes Chicken Bouillon
1 Cup Dry White Wine

In a 8 quart stock pot, over medium heat add olive oil & butter. Add onions, carrots, celery, & garlic saute until translucent. Add turkey, pork, beef, & pancetta, brown over high heat, stirring to keep meat from sticking, will take 15 to 20 minutes. Add Half & Half and simmer until reduced, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, bouillon and wine. Salt & pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Background: I usually get together with my friends Jacque and Angela to make massive amounts of this bolognese. We have 3 huge pots on the stove and we all put our two cents in to make this rich amazing sauce (or gravy as I grew up calling it). I freeze the sauce in quart size freezer bags so we can enjoy it for the next few months! Serve it over noodles, ravioli, tortellini & in lasagna. xo

Monday, November 2, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip

Makes about 2 cups.

1/4 C Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, Pressed
1 1/2 C Feta Cheese, Crumbled
1 7 ounce Jar Roasted Red Peppers, Drained
1 t Cayenne Pepper

In a pyrex measuring cup add olive oil and pressed garlic. Microwave for 45 seconds. Blend peppers, feta and cayenne in a food processor or with an immersion blender. While machine is running add garlic and oil. Blend until smooth. Salt & pepper to taste. Chill until thickened. Serve with pita chips, fresh veggies, or as a spread on sandwiches.

Background: This dip is a favorite of my catering clients, everyone loves it and it is so easy!xo

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Creamy Baked Pasta

1 Lb Bow tie Pasta or your fave
2 C Grated Gruyere, + 1/4 C for sprinkling on top
1 C Creme Fraiche
1 C Greek Yogurt
1 C Grated Romano
1 C Grated Parmesan
2 C Chopped Spinach, fresh
8 oz Black Forrest Ham or Cooked Chicken, roughly chopped
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
1 t Fresh Thyme, Chopped
1/2 t Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil pasta in salted water. Cook until Al Dente, tender but still firm on the bite. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta boiling water.

In a large bowl combine the pasta, pasta water, and all other ingredients, toss gently to coat pasta. Place pasta mixture into a baking dish sprayed with Pam.
Top with remaining Gruyere cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until golden on top.

Background: I came up with this recipe when my friend Jacque decided to have a Macaroni & Cheese Cook-off one Saturday night. The combination of the ham & gruyere is amazing and I think I won the cook-off! Don't tell Jacque or Ang! xo

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fruited Couscous

1 C Orange Juice
1 C Water
2 T Butter
1/4 t Salt
Bring above ingredients to a boil then add:
2 C Whole Wheat Couscous
Take off heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

1/3 C Dried Cranberries
1/3 C Dried Mango, Chopped
1/3 C Dry Roasted Pistachios, shelled
1/3 C Sliced Green Onions
1/2 C Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, (This vinegar is at Trader Joe's, if not available in your area combine 1/4 C Orange Juice & 1/4 C Cider Vinegar)
Toss Together and serve.

For a little spice you can substitute or add Dried Chili Mango & Dried Chili Pineapple. Available at Trader Joe's and most Latin Markets.

Background: I love this recipe for its ease and flavor. Serve it warm with pork, or cold with grilled salmon. Play with it and add your favorite dried fruits! xo

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lemon Rosemary Risotto

(Serves 4 as a side)
2 shallots
1 stick Celery
4 T Butter
1 T Olive oil
10 ounces Arborio Rice
41/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Zest and Juice of half of a lemon
Needle from 2 small sprigs fresh Rosemary, Chopped finely
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons Grated Parmesan, plus some to sprinkle
4 T Whipping cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Process shallots and celery until they are very finely chopped. Heat 2 T butter, olive oil and the shallot & celery mixture in a saucepan, cook to soften, approx 5 mins. Add the rice, stirring to give a good coating of oil and butter. Add 1 cup stock, sauté until absorbed, stirring occasionally. Repeat until rice is al dente.
Add rosemary and lemon zest.
In a small bowl beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, cream and pepper.
When risotto is ready, take off heat and add egg mixture, remaining butter and salt to taste, garnish with Parmesan and rosemary sprigs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lamb Loin with Black Bean Sauce

2 15 oz Cans Black Beans, drained
2 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
6 Pieces Boneless Lamb Loin, 4-6 ounces each
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup dry White Wine

Season the lamb with salt & pepper. In a skillet over high heat, warm the olive oil. Cook the Lamb for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and set aside and keep warm. Add the wine, garlic & beans to the pan with the cooking juices. Simmer for 10 minutes and season with salt & pepper. Slice the lamb and place on a bed of arugula, spinach, rice or noodles and top with the black bean sauce. Serves 6.

Background: I found this recipe in an Italian cooking magazine. I love it because it is so simple and sooo good. If you don't like lamb you can use chicken breasts, thighs or pork tenderloin cut into 4-6 ounce pieces. xo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 Cup Greek Yogurt, non-fat is fine
2 T Ground Cumin
1 t Ground Cinnamon
2 t Cayenne Pepper
2 t Black Pepper
1 T Ginger, Minced -available in a tube with the fresh herbs at Safeway
1 t salt
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into Bite-size

In a large bowl combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger & salt. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or more.

Broil marinated chicken for 10 minutes turning once. Set aside.

1 T Butter
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, Minced
1/2 t Cumin
1 T Garam Masala
2 t Paprika
1 t salt or to taste
1 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 C Cream, Half & Half, or Greek Yogurt
1/4 C Cilantro, chopped

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato, half of the cilantro and cream. Simmer on low until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer another 10 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro. Serves 4.

Serve with rice and Steamed Vegetables.

Background: I first tasted this homemade version while traveling to New Jersey with my friend Susan. We were staying with her friend Barbara and were so excited to know she was making us one of our favorite Indian dishes for dinner. Barbara graciously shared her recipe, we both loved it and couldn't wait to get home and make it! And now we do, often! xo

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 2/3 Cup Wheat Flour - or white if that's what you have!
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Ground Cinnamon
1/2 t salt
2 Eggs
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Olive oil
3 1/2 Bananas, ripe & mashed, a pastry cutter works well for mashing!
2 T Greek Yogurt, Non-fat is fine
1 t Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips
2/3 Cup, Nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, & salt. Beat sugar & eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add oil to egg mixture and beat. Add mashed bananas, yogurt, & vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients. Pour into muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes. Can be made into bread by spraying a loaf pan with Pam and baking for 45 minutes to an hour. I also sprinkle each muffin with cinnamon sugar before baking!

Background: I made these muffins to take to my kids in college. When I went to visit, upon meeting my son's dorm mates, they eagerly asked "are you the one who made those amazing muffins!". I also gave them to my girlfriends, they requested that I put the recipe on the blog as they loved them, too! So here it is! Enjoy!xo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fish Verabella

2 lbs fish, your favorite such as Salmon, Sole, etc.
2 Lemons
2 T Olive oil
6 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Onions, Chopped
1 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
20 Pitted Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped or left whole
2 T Capers, drained
2 T Italian Parsley, chopped
1/2 t Dried Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
1 Cup Dry White Wine

Sprinkle fish with salt and place in shallow pan. Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice over fillets.

Heat oil in a large saute' pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden
about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, olives, capers, parsley, oregano, bay leaves & white wine. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add filets, cover and cook turning once about 4 minutes per side. Discard bay leaves.

Serves 4-6. I like to serve with rice and steamed veggies tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper.

Background: I developed this recipe for my friend Fern when she asked me for a fish recipe with kalamata olives, capers & oregano. I named it Fish Verabella because I took the ingredients I liked from 2 of my favorite recipes, Chicken Mirabella and Fish Veracruz. I think you will enjoy the combination, too! xo

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caesar Salad Dressing

3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1/2 Cup Best Foods Mayonaise
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 T Drained Capers
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Dijon Mustard
Juice of one whole Lemon
1 Can Anchovies with Oil(optional of course)
Salt & Pepper to taste.
1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Put all ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Process or use a hand immersion blender until combined. Slowly add olive oil slowly so it emulsifies and becomes somewhat thick.
Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

A Caesar Salad consists of Romaine Lettuce, Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Croutons & this Dressing!

Background: My friend Jeanne makes the best Caesar Salad and always served them at her kids birthday parties. It was the one salad my kids would eat back then. I asked her to share her recipe, and she did! I modified the I always do! I added the olive oil for a smoother finish.xo

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake

1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Light Olive Oil
4 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray a 9 X 13 glass baking dish with Pam.
Combine and pour into a 9 X 13 glass baking dish

In food processor or bowl add:
1 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Oat Meal
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 t Cinnamon
Pulse to mix or use your fork or pastry cutter to combine.
1 Cup Butter, cut into pieces
Cut into flour mixture with pastry cutter or pulse in food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on top of batter in baking dish making sure the edges are fully covered. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Background: This coffee cake is so moist and delicious and is so easy to make! I first had this coffee cake at my friend Susan's and loved it. My kids love waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of this baking. I use whole wheat flour, oat meal and olive oil in an attempt to make it somewhat healthy without compromising the flavor. If you don't have whole wheat flour, olive oil or oats on hand you can use what you have, like white flour and vegetable oil. Either way I think it will become a family favorite for you as it is for us! xo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Braised Pork with Red Chile Sauce

3 lbs Lean Pork
2 T Olive Oil
2 Large Onions, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Pressed
6 T Chili Powder
1 T Cumin
2 t Oregano, Crumbled
1-2 Fresh Jalapenos or 2-3 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/4 Cups Water
1 t Sugar
1 1/2 t Salt
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 Cup Half & Half

Trim and discard fat from meat and cut into 1 inch cubes. In a wide frying pan if using a slow cooker, in pressure cooker or large stock pot if that's you're using, heat oil over medium heat. Add meat and brown lightly, add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano. Cook until onion is limp. Move into slow cooker. Stir in water, sugar, salt, tomato paste.
For Slow cooker cook covered all day on medium.
For Stock pot cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours or until meat is shreddable.
For Pressure cooker. Cook on low heat for 1 hour.

Stir in half & half, cook until mixture boils. Shred meat.

Serve over steamed rice garnished with fresh avocado, sour cream and lime.

Can be also be used for tamale or enchalada filling.

Background: This recipe is a staple in our house, everyone loves it and it makes a great next day meal in enchaladas. xo

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lemon Pepper Salmon

1 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped finely
2 cups Sliced Mushrooms
4 4 oz Salmon Fillets or your favorite fish
1/4 t Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1/4 t Paprika
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Large Tomato, chopped
2 Green Onions, Sliced
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Basil

In a small bowl mix lemon pepper, paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are tender. Place fillets over mushrooms and sprinkle with spice mixture.

Cover skillet and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

Combine tomato, green onions & basil.

I like to serve this on a bed of brown rice, topped with the mushrooms, then the fish fillet and sprinkled with the tomato, green onion & basil mixture. Accompanied by fresh spinach sauteed in olive oil, garlic, & sprinkled with lemon juice.

Background: We like to have fish at least once a week, so I am always looking for fresh and tasty fish dishes. This one fits the bill! I like it with Mahi Mahi and Sole, too. xo

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 3. Easily doubled or tripled for that matter!  Can be assembled 1 day ahead.  Can also be frozen for up to a month.

1 large eggplant
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb shredded Mozzarella or Quattro Fromaggio
1 large bunch fresh basil, chopped
8 oz shredded Parmesan or Asiago for sprinkling on each layer

Slice eggplant in quarter inch slices and lay on a large baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper.  Roast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until eggplant is soft but not mushy.

While eggplant is roasting , in a saucepan saute the diced tomatoes on medium heat until they have reduced by half.  Set aside.  If you like a little zing you can add red pepper flakes to the reduced tomatoes.  

Spray a square baking dish with Pam. 
Layer one third of the eggplant in the bottom of the dish. 

Then one third of the reduced tomatoes.
One third of the Mozzarella.
One third of the Basil.
Sprinkle with Parmesan
Repeat until you have used all ingredients finishing with cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through and cheese is bubbling.

Serve with penne pasta tossed lightly with olive oil,  a bit of butter, & chopped Italian parsley and a Arugula salad or your favorite salad. 

Background: This recipe came about when my friend Frances got an Italian cookbook from a friend who had just visited Italy.  The original recipe required frying and breading the eggplant.  I thought the dish was so flavorful with the reduced tomatoes and basil that I could leave the frying out and make it a little easier and healthier.  This is a tasty dish that is light and easy!  Trust yourself, if you think you can make a recipe better or healthier, try it!  You may create something amazing!  And when you do, send it to me!  xo


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brasciole Braised Short Ribs

4 cross cut short ribs, about 4 lbs or a 4lb brisket, cut into serving size pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin or what you have
2 T roughly chopped garlic
2 T fennel seeds
1 1/2 t  red pepper flakes
4 cups or one 28 oz can Marinara Sauce, Prego works well
4 t Chicken Broth Powder
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 bay leaves
2 T finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T grated lemon zest

In a large roasting pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add meat and brown on all sides.  Remove meat,  add garlic and saute' until lightly brown, this happens quickly,  add fennel and red pepper flakes.  Add Marinara, chicken stock powder, capers & bay leaves and mix well.  Return meat to roasting pan.  Cover and put in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily.  If using a briskit cut in 3 inch by 3 inch squares. 
Place on creamy polenta and cover with sauce.  Combine Italian parsley and lemon zest and sprinkle over meat and sauce. 
Serves 4-6

Creamy Polenta:  you can make the polenta or buy it premade in a tube and add 1/4 cup half & half and 2 T butter, microwave per package instructions.
I also serve with French Green Beans sauteed in olive oil, garlic, onions, salt & pepper.

This is so tasty, the meat is like buttah!  It is a great meal when you are having guests as everything can be prepared ahead of time and reheated just before serving!

Enjoy! xo

Background:  This is a recipe I first tasted at a Cooks with Books dinner with Michael Chiarello at The Left Bank restaurant in Larkspur, CA.  I went with my Mom, sister and friend Lorraine.   I loved this dish!  The original recipe required a brining and grilling process prior to baking.  Last Sunday, I tried the recipe without that process and it tasted great! 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deb’s Awesome Veggie Chili

2 T olive oil
2 ribs celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
2 onions chopped
Saute’ above ingredients until veggies are tender.

Add all next ingredients and bring to a boil for 20 - 30 minutes.
1 pint prepared salsa
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can creamed corn
1 15 oz can kidney beans, undrained
1 15 oz can white beans, undrained
1 28 oz can black beans, undrained
3 zucchini, cut in bite size pieces
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3 cups broccoli florettes
1 bunch red swiss chard, chopped, can use spinach
1 can mazo blanco or canned hominy, drained

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin

Serve with additional salsa, tortilla chips and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Background: I created this recipe when I was cooking for my friend Kim who is a vegetarian. My garden had graced me with lots of zucchini, tomatoes and swiss chard. I adapted the recipe for canned tomatoes, but feel free to use fresh! Add leftover grilled chicken if you want to a more protien. I love this and find it tasty and satisfying, and hope you do, too! xo